Pre-Award and Proposal Development Services | Veteran's Affairs (VA)

University of Minnesota Medical School

Over 75 years ago, the University of Minnesota Medical School formed an affiliation with the Minneapolis VA Health Care System (MVAHCS). This webpage focuses on pre-award and proposal development services for faculty with MVAHCS/Medical School joint appointments who conduct research via the University.

VA / UMN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Investigators with joint appointments at a MVAHCS and an affiliate university, who wish to apply for funding from NIH, must have an MOU that defines their work/effort distribution at the two sites. The MOU further certifies that there is no possibility of dual compensation (payment by more than one entity for the same effort) for the same work or of an actual or apparent conflict of interest. 

Based on guidance provided by the Council on Government Relations, the MOU should include the investigator’s effort as a function of their total professional effort.  The NIH defines total professional effort as the total (100 percent) professional responsibilities of an investigator for their efforts at both the university and MVAHCS. University effort is 100 percent of the activity funded under the UMN institutional base salary, which is the total UMN salary. The percent effort proposed in a university grant application is the percent of university effort. A conversion must be made when translating the university committed effort to total professional effort for joint appointment MOU reporting purposes.

Faculty are encouraged to use this template when completing their MOUs. MOUs need to be updated at least annually but also when there is a significant change in effort during the year. Please note that the MOU should be prepared based on current activities, not prospective or anticipated activities (ie proposals which haven’t yet been awarded).  If you need help completing an MOU or if you have one that needs to be routed for signatures, please contact Erin at

Frequently asked questions: 

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How do I determine if my project should be submitted through the VA, University or CVRE?

The MVAHCS and University of Minnesota have a standing agreement about which institution should submit and administer the grant. This applies to all MVAHCS-based faculty with a five-eighths (5/8) or more appointment who also have a faculty appointment at the University of Minnesota. Generally, the types of grants which should go through the University are NIH Prime awards, NIH Subcontracts which only include PI effort, or projects in which the MVAHCS investigator is a Co-Investigator but the PI is University faculty. This algorithm can help you decide, but please contact Erin at with any questions.  Exceptions to this policy need to be approved by the Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Research at the MVAHCS. 

Helpful link: 

If I have a joint appointment, do I need to include anything in my grant to reflect that?

Yes. Any faculty member holding a joint UMN/MVAHCS appointment must disclose  the joint appointment in the budget justification of an application for funding.

Sample language:

Dr. ___________ has an appointment with the University of Minnesota (UMN)  and with the Veterans Administration (VA).  This arrangement is defined in a formal UMN-VA Joint Appointment Memorandum of Understanding.  The institutional base salary used in this application represents only the salary from UMN.  It does not include salary from the VA appointment.  The percentage of effort in this application represents UMN effort on the proposed project in relation to professional effort for the UMN appointment.

Does my Other Support need to include my grants from both UMN and VAMC?

Sponsors that request Other Support pages are expecting to see all research listed, regardless of funding.  Therefore, VA-funded research should be included.

What salary do I use for budgeting on a UMN grant?

The salary used for UMN proposal submissions is an investigator’s institutional  base salary. Since salary earned from a MVAHCS is paid through a separate, federally-funded paycheck, this compensation is not included in the UMN institutional base salary. 

Do I use the on-campus or off-campus rate for my project?

Off campus research is when activities are performed in facilities not owned by the institution, which includes research done at the MVAHCS.  Grant or Contracts will not be subject to more than one F&A cost rate. If more than 50% of a project is performed off-campus the off-campus rate will apply to the entire project. The best practice for calculating this is to calculate the percent of the salaries earned by people who are working offsite and if that is more than 50%, the project would use the off-campus rate.

Sample language for budget justification when using the off-campus rate:

The negotiated rate for off-campus research at the University of Minnesota  is calculated at 26% of Modified Total Direct Costs (MTDC). Off-campus rates apply to sponsored projects where more than 50% of the university effort is conducted off-campus. This project will primarily take place off campus at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

Am I eligible to apply for a K-award if I have a joint appointment?

VA research efforts cannot be used to meet the 75% effort requirement for the K-award, so investigators need to have at least a 75% UMN appointment to be eligible to apply.

How much effort am I allowed to have across my joint appointment?

The total percentage of paid time between the two organizations cannot exceed 135% or 55 hours a week. In addition, no time at a single organization can exceed 100% or 40 hours. The University allows this arrangement in order to increase the clinical, educational and research collaborations between the two organizations.

I have a University-employed staff member who I’d like to have work temporarily on a project funded through the VA. Is that possible?

Yes.  Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) agreements are governed by the Intergovernmental Personnel Act of 1970 and enable University personnel to be reassigned to work for a government agency such as the VA for duties not to exceed four continuous years. An IPA will be for one employee. There can be multiple IPAs for a project, but each employee needed will get a separate IPA. UMN Employees are allowed up to 50% effort to be moved to the VA. If more effort than this is requested, approval is needed.

I need to set up a subaward with the Center for Veterans Research and Education (CVRE). What do I need to do?

Contact the PI at MVAHCS/CVRE directly with the subaward request as a first step. They should complete and submit the Project Review Form to begin the process with CVRE. Please be aware that CVRE requires a 30 day notice for new proposals. CVRE is not a part of the FDP Expanded Clearinghouse, so the Subaward Commitment Form is needed. They are a part of the FCOI Clearinghouse, so the FCOI paperwork is not needed. CVRE’s institutional information and budget form are also available.

Who should sign off on PRFs involving VA/UMN Joint Faculty?

Please include Dr. Steve Fu (stevefu) as a Dept Head/ Delegate and Erin Brudvik (erinb) as Dept Administrator in addition to your regular Department/Medical School signers. 

Erin Brudvik photo

Erin Brudvik, MPP

VA/UMN Research Manager

Post-Award Support
Medical School Finance

Jaryn LaBine

John Hoffmann

10/25/23 Presentation

Working with Faculty with a VA/UMN Joint Appointment

An overview by Erin Brudvik  VA/UMN Research Manager